We arrived at Soekarno–Hatta International Airport around 12:00AM, we didn’t have any plans of getting a place to sleep since we are on a budget, we just stayed at the airport and rested for a while. Around 5AM we decided to proceed to the Bus Station just an outside the airport to take the bus going to the city. Travel time was around an hour, so we had some time to rest/sleep.
We arrived at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport around midnight and since we only needed to wait for a few hours, we opted to stay in the airport until the first bus to Gambir, Jakarta was available.
Upon reaching Gambir Station in Jakarta, we were greeted by a tiny stall on the sidewalk wherein tons of people were eating breakfast. We were curious as to what they were eating so we checked the stall out and bought ourselves some grub. The food sold was called Bubur Ayam (PHP 50 per serving). It’s like porridge with strips of chicken, and lots of other toppings. Not a bad price considering how filling and delicious it was especially if you drizzle kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) on it. its like porridge but with a lot of spices and toppings.
With our tummies full, we then walked and visited the below attractions.
- Merdeka Square
- Istiqlal Mosque
- Jakarta Cathedral
We then went to their National Museum and mind you it was such a fun experience. The entrance fee is just 10,000 IDR which is just PHP37, the entrance includes a free walking tour in the museum. We were able to learn a lot about Indonesian culture. We had a super informative tour guide, we were her first audience! Too bad we were not able to get her name. She is a Dutch National 😊
We then visited the National Museum (entrance fee is around PHP 37 or IDR 10,000) and learned about the rich Indonesian culture, and its history. There is an English walking tour available free of charge and the tour guide was very knowledgeable.
This Museum is open from 8.30 am to 2.30 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, from 8.30 am to 11.30 am on Fridays, and from 8.30 am to 1.30 pm on Saturdays. The Museum is closed on Mondays and Public Holidays.
Right after our free walking tour, we decided to head to Chinatown and have lunch there. There were loads of things you can buy in Chinatown ranging from fresh seafood, fruits, and vegetables to bags and clothing. The streets were riddled with street food vendors as well!
Afterward, we then headed to Pulo Gebang Bus Terminal which was about an hour or so away. The bus terminal was like a mini-mall. The ticketing offices were located on the 2nd floor and the departure area was located on the 3rd floor. We booked our tickets bound to Surabaya via Mawar. The fare is PHP 1066 each which included a free meal. Travel time to Surabaya was about 10 hours
Surabaya (Mt. Bromo)
We were woken up by a sudden turn of events when the bus we were on suddenly had burst tires swinging us from side to side (talk about a wake-up call). Gladly enough, the group was all fine without any injuries while some came out with bumps on the head due to the impact. We remained stranded for about 15 minutes until another provincial bus also headed to Surabaya drove by. We didn’t have to pay for anything extra since this was a technical malfunction.
At around 7am, we were able to get to the Surabaya bus stop where we had our first Soto Ayam meal. It was a mix of rice, noodles, chicken and chicken broth, and we indulged it with our new favorite seasoning Kecap Manis which is a local soy sauce with a viscous syrupy consistency and a molasses-like flavor due to the generous addition of palm sugar.
After about an hour of rest, we then went to look for an economy bus headed to Probolinggo. Luckily enough, some locals pointed us to the station that was on the route which we wanted to go on. Side note, be prepared to have a lot of transport representatives to get you to go on a private car ride with them. Prices may sometimes be tempting, but to be sure that you won’t get scammed (which happened to us, will tell you more on the day 3 blog), be sure to get the best routes beforehand and research on how you’re going to get there beforehand.
Since this was our first public economy bus ride, we did not expect it to be very hot as Indonesian humidity was really something else. Before the ride started, there were vendors coming up and throwing their goods to us which was also something new. It ranged from clothing to toys, to even coloring books. It’s okay to not take them, just politely refuse. 🙂
After about 2 hours, we were able to reach Probolinggo. We had lunch at a stop outside the bus station where a local offered us to get to Cemoro Lewang which is where our Inn was (the nearest point to Mt. Bromo). He advised us how the regular travel was going there (via the local jeeps) but due to the lack of tourists, offered us to get there for an additional price (regular price is 30K and the offer was 61K but still below our estimated fare which is roughly 75k). After some negotiation with another group who wanted to go there, we bought into the offered fair so that we can go straight to our inn (Sedulur Homestay). At around 3 PM, we were able to reach Cemoro Lewang which was extremely like the feels of our own Mt. Provinces. Cool breeze even at the heat of the sun, plantation all around, house going uphill, it was sort of nostalgic of our previous trip to Buscalan.
While on our way up, the driver who also bartered our jeepney ride up Cemoro Lewang offered his services to tour us for the Bromo Experience. We initially planned to walk in for free (which was tiring since we have to hike a very steep way) but after a very good deal, we all agreed to take his offer for the 4×4 ride up the viewing deck and down the crater after for 250k.
Our accommodation was clean and had water heaters which was extremely important given the cold weather conditions of the place (and super early call time for the bromo trip). And it was the perfect deal since it was just at the jump-off area and the price was really cheap! We just paid PHP 100 each for 1 night.
We freshened up shortly after arriving and headed out for food. We had one of our best and most affordable meals here in my opinion as their Nasi Goreng was not as spicy in comparison to our first meals and their Mie Goreng was extremely delish. We decided to hit the haystack early for an awesome sunrise that awaited us tomorrow.
We all woke up around 2 am to start prepping for our Mt. Bromo tour. The thermostat here is no joke at dawn. It was freezing and getting up was a challenge. Good thing we bathed before going to bed. It would’ve been a pain showering as the water heaters have been turned off.
Our guide came very early and was already waiting for us even before we woke up. Since we were very close to the entrance to Mt. Bromo, we could already hear 4×4 jeeps passing through where we were staying. Like what I saw from vlogs about the place, the area was indeed very busy during this time of the day in comparison to when we first arrived.
The jeep was exactly for 6 people which was fortunate enough. 6 for the trip was perfect as transportation would normally be good for said number of pax.
We were relieved to have taken the offer of Ferri for even though our homestay is as close as you can get to Mt. Bromo, the way going there is still quite treacherous and was indeed very long.
After what was like the “Mad Maxx” movie scene, what with 4×4 cars and bikes passing through a dark sandy terrain, we were able to reach the drop-off point where we had to still go up roughly 2KM to the 2nd viewing deck. It wasn’t as high as the famous KingKong viewing deck, but it was not as crowded either, so it was a win overall. We got there early at around 4:30am. We waited for the sunrise and it was indeed spectacular and one of the best views I’ve seen in my entire life. We got to take awesome photos care of photography master Ivan.
At around 6:30am, we headed back down to meet with our driver to head to the crater area. It took us around 1 hour to get to the area by jeep and then another climb of about 45mins to get to the actual crater. We had to cross a field of ash and sand then start heading up two-thirds of the way via rough terrain and a third via stairs. There are some picturesque views while heading up which are also good pit stops. They also offer horse rides for 100K which is pretty cheap (around 300php) and more purposeful in comparison to the ones offered in Baguio though I still do not recommend this as it would be better to do it on foot.
Be prepared to inhale some sulfur fumes upon initially reaching the top of the crater. You’ll find a lot of people coughing at the entry point. you can go around the crater to avoid lesser people, I suggest going the right side which had better and higher views for photos, that’s if you don’t have a problem with steep narrow ways resulting to near-death experiences lolz — just an exaggeration, but always keep safe as the pathway really is very steep and heads straight down to the crater. After a few photos, videos and a high dose of sulfur inhalation XD we headed back down to make it back to our homestay and take baths to catch our jeep back down to Probolinggo as it leaves at 9:30am. After a visually attractive ride back down, we reached Probolinggo just in time for lunch.
Okay, so, word of advice; STICK WITH THE ITINERARY!!! Just as we arrived back down, a swarm of locals offered us several transport services to Denpasar Bali which was our next stop. Originally, Louie sought for us to commute from Probolinggo to Banyunwangi where we needed to take a ferry (readily available 24/7) to cross East java going to Bali. Sadly, due to the urge to get there faster and with less hassle (or so we thought), we gave in to the offer to get direct economy from Probolinggo to denpasar including the boat ride for 140K. Sounds good right? But… The reality is: THERE IS NO DIRECT ECONOMY.
If we stuck with our Itinerary, we would have made it to our Airbnb around 12am max. However, after a 3-hour ride, we stopped at a place called Jember where we were initially told would be a 10 minute stop. Not only was the stop longer, we were then advised that it would be another 10 hours to get to Denpasar. We tried to barter our way out but these guys wouldn’t go without getting either the whole buck or a chip of the payment out of what we initially paid. Ending, we had to endure a 10-hour journey as it had several stops along the way before we got to reach Denpasar. At least we were seating close to each other and we had time to sleep in the bus as we endured the long long long long long ride to our next destination. We got to Denpasar at around 3:30am from leaving Jember at around 5:30pm. from the Central bus station, we had to get a grab 6-seater to our airbnb which we reached at around 4:30am. We only slightly rested and refreshed as our Nusa Penida Tour would start in less than 2 hours.
No sleep, no problem. After an exhausting trip, we reached our airbnb which was super huge. Though we were a bit regretful of missing a night to stay in our supposed home for the next 3 days, we were at least glad that we made it just in time for our Nusa Penida tour, which had been on my personal bucketlist since I started with this wanderlust.
Another plus, Bali has grab food services, YAY! We managed to take baths, order and eat at home and rest for a bit just on time till our tour guide went knocking on our doors. Louie managed to arrange a Nusa Penida tour for us with Nusa Penida Tours that included transfers to and from our Airbnb, the ferry ride to Nusa Penida islands, a driver on the islands to get to our several tourist spots and free lunch.
It took us roughly 20 minutes to drive from our Airbnb to the Ferry port. at around 7am, we went on the ferry and after a 45-minute ride, we arrived at the Nusa Penida Islands where our local guide was already waiting for us. He took us for about an hour drive to our first spot which was Diamond beach. Note: Most of the spots on this trip involve some heavy treks going down to and up from the beaches so be sure to bring water as it can get exhausting.
The first destination did not disappoint. Upon reaching the entry point and walking towards the way down Diamond beach, a stunning view overlooking the waters and cliff formations took my breath away. It was indeed more breathtaking to see it in person. The way down the beach was well patented with stairs and though very long, it captures your heart the further you go down. They also offer swings and certain ig worthy stands for a fee. Our crew decided to pass on those and just enjoy the beach. The waters were so refreshing cold. Me, Jon and Ivan went and enjoyed it though the spot we chose to stay in had a lot of stone. Still, we made the most of the refreshing dip in the cold water and fairly strong waves just before we decided to head back up. Going back up was no joke. But it was easier when you think, well, let’s wait for Kelingking.
Next stop, we drove for about 20minutes to raja lima and treehouse molenteng. Since most of us were exhausted from the minor hike (yaaas, hiking pala toh besh), only jon and ivan went down to take photos of the view. The rest of us decided to go tito/tita mode and just enjoy the cool breeze while drinking coke. Taking a photo on the actual treehouse costs 50k but you can go down and take photos of the view with no charge.
After they went back up, we drove to get lunch and as far as free meals go, this one was way better than what we expected. After about an hour of resting and refreshments, we drove for about 20mins to teletubbies which was sorta like a mini chocolate hills site. We decided to just take a 5 minute stop here and go to Kelingking which was my most awaited site to get to.
It took us roughly an hour as this is on the other side of the island. Upon reaching the place and seeing it in person, I was again mesmerized and awestruck. The aerial view of the beach was so astonishing, it made me want to just jump right into the water ( which was about 200 meters high and I’d be dead from either a heart attack from jumping or the actual ploof when I hit the waters.
We first took photos at a less busy side of the cliff ( which we found thanks to Ivan’s inadvertently stalking of famous Instagram travelers). After the scary photo shoot at an actual cliff’s edge (all for the gram baby), we started to hike down to the beach. Unlike Diamond beach, the hike down to Kelingking beach was even more treacherous as the steps were made for giants and only half of the way down actually had steps since this area is still to be fully developed. Quick tip, buy your water atop as they charge it for 50k each at the beach area.
After almost dying from slipping while heading down, the waves and the crystal blue waters were calling out to us to indulge. I then realized this was a call of death lolz. The waves during the time of our visit was no jokes. Being a 6 foot tall guy, it was the first time ever that I experienced being plummeted and tackled down by a wave almost twice my size. Don’t be fooled, the water was only knee-deep but when the waves came it, i almost broke my arm and hit my pelvis which made me decide to play dead and let waves drive me back rolling ashore. Because of the near-death experience ( hope you dont read this mom), I just beach bummed and had a photoshoot starring Samer.
Around 3pm, we decided to head back up and it was even more hellish as the sun was on our backs, making it hard for someone with asthma to breathe ( not saying that’s me though, lolz). Gladly, I made it back up alive and well. We then headed back to the ferry port for about 45minutes of driving and another 45 Minutes to make it back to denpasar.
We then traded a supposed sunset view at La Plancha in Semenyak for a time to enjoy our pool villa. The place was enormous for just 6 people and we managed to book it for less than 2k per night. Check them out via the link below. After about an hour, we went out at a local place in search of Satay as we’ve yet to eat this much-awaited grilled delight of Indonesia.
We were able to find an awesome spot just near our Villa and not only was it cheap, it was also a delight made in heaven. After making ourselves full, we got some fresh fruit shakes along the way back to our villa and bought Durian to eat just before we slept. Aint a full south east Asian experience without eating Durian. This was such a long day but certainly wouldn’t have it any other way.
First stop on our list for this day was the mysterious Aircraft Boeing 737. We were indeed mystified. Not because of it’s history or the journey heading there. Apparently, someone now regulates and commercialized the said attraction, offering it for photoshoots and private bookings. Although you can still take a photo of it from afar, the place is currently inaccessible.
We then decided to head on to our next appointment which was an unexpected one for me (because I didn’t pay attention to the Itinerary lolz).
The edge or otherwise known as OneEighty is a resort situated atop a cliff edge where you had an amazing view great for awesome photos. You’ll need to make an appointment days before arrival, otherwise, you could end up being refused as guests. The total package costs 450K with 350K consumable for food. Please note that their menu prices are exclusive of taxes so try not to max it out. The reservation is for 4 hours of enjoying the facilities which include the man-made spring, table/bed (you’ll know where you’ve been reserved for once you’re there) with towels, the edge pool and comfort rooms. There are no enclosed shower rooms so you can take a shower outside then change at the comfort rooms. Also, they only offer water for VIP guests so try to make the most out of your 350K allotment if you don’t want to spend anything extra.
We left the place just before 3pm and ordered a grab heading to our missed destination yesterday, waiting for the sun to set at La Plancha. We got there around 4:30pm which was still quite. We opted to still get into one of the beach umbrellas despite the sun. It’s 100K charge per person to be by the beach but it is consumable. We ordered drinks and food as we waited for an awesome view of the sunset from a different side of the world.
At around 6pm, we got our “tawad” gaming on as we went to buy stuff from the nearby souvenir stores. Be very stingy as these folks know how to make deals in their favor. It should be a no brainer that the prices around the area is extremely high in comparison to local markets what with a lot of foreigners taking over the place. We then decided to visit another party place called Motel Mexicola which was 1.2 KM from La Plancha. Be mindful of taking a grab here as the local government drives a campaign against them and patronizes local taxis such as bluebird. Unfortunately, upon reaching Mexicola, we were put on waiting which was advised to be more than an hour. We opted to just head back home again for dinner and rest as our last day in Bali awaited us with a very early call time.
Alas! we were about to finish up our trip. No better way to do it than with a 5am Call time. Our driver was arranged by Louie through KKday. We were set to tour around Ubud. Our guide was extremely well-versed in speaking English which was one of the few times we experienced it on this trip. And mind you the cost is very cheap, we just paid PHP 2K plus for the private car rental!
Be advised that most of the people here only speak their own language Bahasa Indonesia, so be thankful for moments that you encounter locals who are willing to help you communicate.
Our first stop was Tagalagang Rice Terraces where we were supposed to experience the infamous swing over a view of the terraces. Sadly, there was no one there to assist. On the lighter sad, we managed to make the most of our time here taking photos from the instagramable set up of the place and explore it all for free.
After about an hour, we headed onto UMA Pakel that offered free coffee tasting and sold the infamous civet coffee at an affordable price. They also offered day trips which includes access to the pool and photo sites for 150 K. After a delightful sampling of what they had to offer, we then went to this central area with a lot of temples. But mainly we got here looking for Babi guling, their local version of lechon. I ordered a special meal and extra skin coz ofcourse, yolo… after this brunch we headed back down the town proper to tour some of the temples which were also magnificent. I’ve got to say that indonesian cultural art is quite evident in this part of Bali. I’m definitely amazed of how their ancestors were able to carve the stones so intricately.
At around 12 nn, we headed onto Tegunanan Waterfalls. Entrance is 20K each. Since this was our last day and all of us are tired from going up and down cliffs, we enjoyed the view of the falls from atop and stayed for about an hour. Our Kkday driver then offered to take us to a local souvenir shop which was significantly cheaper than the stores near the tourist spots. After a bit of a light snack, we decided to head back to the airport as we bid Indonesia farewell.
Ferri (Mt.Bromo Sunrise Tour) – +62 852 9198 5597
Sedular Homestay (Mt.Bromo Accommodation)- +62 852 5812 2319
Nusa Penida Tour – +62 812-4651-6591 (https://www.facebook.com/NusaPenidaTourPackages93/)
KKday Private Charter Car Rental – https://www.kkday.com/en-ph/product/18176?cid=6355
Because sharing is caring, you can get PHP 1,600 off on your first room booking in Airbnb (click here: http://tiny.cc/2c2qhz)
Download full itinerary here: